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and for exempting doctors and other professionals from the Federal Trade Commission regulations. Two years ago he fought to weaken Superfund, the federal toxic clean-up program, and in 1983 he led the fight to gut clean water legislation that had blocked destruction of the nation’s wetlands. He supports the death penalty in certain cases. Virtually all of these positions are the reverse of the policies Michael Dukakis has supported throughout his public life. “Lloyd Bentsen is a businessman,” the late New York Senator Jacob Javits once noted, “and the things that attract him are business problems.” The benefits of Bentsen’s solicitude have flowed in both directions. Bentsen received campaign contributions from 18 different concerns that were aided by provisions he supported in the tax bill last year. With a total take of $5 million between January 1, 1983, and June 30, 1987, he topped a list of 32 Senators in raising money for reelection to the Senate in 1988, according to a Common Cause study, and he was by far and away the leading recipient of PAC funds. All this was background to Bentsen’s rather raw demand that lobbyists shell out $10,000 apiece for the privilege of breakfasting with him after he took over the chairmanship of the Senate Finance Committee in 1987. Stung by harsh criticism of this tactic, he gave the money back but then collected most of it again in normal PAC donations. Given his reputation as a “PAC man, ” there is something faintly hypocritical about his consistent votes to limit such donations and his support for campaign-finance reform. But he isn’t all bad. Although he paid sparse attention to the needs of female candidates when he ran the Democratic Senate campaign fund in 1986, feminists are pleased with his generally pro-choice positions. In recent years the AFL-CIO has found him helpful on civil rights legislation, though poor on workers’ rights, and he has supported extending federal voting rights protection to Mexican Americans. And last year, he was one of the first Southern Democrats to oppose the Supreme Court nomination of Robert Bork. Not that progressive lobbyists in Washington will be sorry to see Bentsen leave the Senate if the Democratic ticket wins in November. As one of them put it, perhaps too optimistically, “He’ll be able to do much less damage as Vice-President.” Environmentalists similarly assume that if he were not running for national office, Bentsen would be on the floor of Congress leading the fight against the Clean Air Act. “I think people are tired and turned off by ideological solutions,” he told The Wall Street Journal in 1975. “The other Democratic candidates are trying to move into the middle . . . I don’t have to. I’m already there.” Politics and Symbols The Democratic Convention as Political Theater BY DAVE DENISON Atlanta BEFORE JESSE JACKSON explained to the convention why he had run for President, before he thanked his family and friends for supporting him in his long campaign, he paused for an introduction. “All of us who are here think that we are seated, but we’re really standing on someone’s shoulders,” he said. “Ladies and gentlemen, Mrs. Rosa Parks.” At that, no one in the Omni Coliseum was seated. The crowd broke into a loud and sustained ovation as Rosa Parks was escorted up to the podium. Gray and grandmotherly, she smiled and waved. It was impossible to imagine that anyone in the convention hall did not know of Rosa Parks, nor could anyone fail to see a larger political meaning in Parks’s joining Jackson on the stage. As with any political symbol, though, the picture of Jackson and Mrs. Parks had different shades of meaning to different witnesses. Look how far we’ve come in a generation. From the days of being relegated to the back of the bus to the days when a black man is considered for President of the United States. Perhaps many delegates were applauding for that reason. Perhaps others were applauding the idea that Jackson’s very presence on the stage meant they, collectively, had taken a seat at the front of the bus in the political process. To some, the event might have implied that equality had been realized. To others, Jackson represented aspirations still unfulfilled. The convention consisted of many such moments. The Democrats of the present were constantly building bridges to the past. On Monday night, Rep. Mike Espy of Mississippi took the stage. At age 34, he is the first black from his state to go to Congress since Reconstruction. He recalled the memory of Fannie Lou Hamer, who appealed to the 1964 convention in Atlantic City to seat her Mississippi Freedom delegation. On Tuesday night, John F. Kennedy, Jr., now 27, brought the crowd to its feet merely by stepping up to the podium and introducing his uncle, Senator Edward Kennedy. Earlier in the day, Gov. Michael Dukakis, who has cast his campaign in the style of JFK’s, visited the memorial to Dr. Martin Luther King. The image presented in the next day’s newspapers was of Dukakis and Coretta Scott King, smiling in front of a large portrait of Dr. King. Political symbols have now become the very essence of the modern convention. As voters have been allowed to pick their nominees through party primaries, the convention’s deliberative processes have disappeared. But the television cameras have convention has become the nature of the political variety show the televised extravaganza. Personalities are featured. Those who make entertaining speeches are the stars and those who don’t are “bombs.” The audience is the ultimate judge of the event’s success. The political symbol becomes not just the tool but the purpose. Throughout the week, the Democrats’ preoccupation was to demonstrate “unity.” This is the case with all conventions when there has been division in the party. But the unity that Democrats were so desperate to project this year had to do with racial unity. The challenge for Dukakis, as the man who had to first appeal to the factions in his party while at the same time appealing to the television audience at large, was not an easy one. He had to find a way to promote harmony between blacks and whites, but not in a way that he appeared to give himself over entirely to one side. In choosing Senator Lloyd Bentsen for his running mate Dukakis had given white voters reassurance that he was not beholden to Rev. Jackson. But in doing so he had risked alienating Jackson’s delegates. With the decision made, he then moved to win Jackson and his followers back, which he was able to do easily enough it took only a show of respect to Jackson and an acknowledgment of what Jackson stood for. Then, on Thursday night, by which time Jackson had calmed the waters, the campaign benefited from a masterful stroke: former Congresswoman Barbara Jordan was brought in to second the nomination of Bentsen for Vice President. The audience saw one of the most revered black political figures saying “Lloyd Bentsen is a sensible, logical, and rational choice for the Vice 6 AUGUST 19, 1988